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Cambridge City Council

Council joins with other local authorities to call for increased Government action on climate change

27 October 2021

CAMBRIDGE City Council has joined three national campaigns calling on the national Government for greater investment and action on climate change.  

The council has signed the UK100 Pledge, joining other leading local authorities in committing to work with local communities, businesses and partners to reduce carbon emissions, and calling on the Government to provide local areas with increased powers and funding for further local climate action. 

Last week, the council also unanimously passed a motion supporting a global campaign calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT). The campaign aims to secure international commitment to the winding down of the supply of fossil fuels, and an end to new development of fossil fuels.  

It also aims to foster an equitable transition to clean, low-carbon energy and economies, including developing plans to support workers, communities and countries dependent on fossil fuels to create secure and healthy livelihoods. 

Last week, the council also passed a motion supporting the New Economics Foundation’s (NEF) Great Homes Upgrade campaign. This calls upon the Government to deliver an ambitious programme to retrofit homes across the UK to tackle carbon emissions, upgrade cold and draughty homes and reduce energy bills.  

Councillors called for £11.7 billion funding during the course of this parliament for measures such as insulation and heat pumps, and a National Retrofit Taskforce to support local retrofit programmes and co-ordinate the upskilling and retraining of thousands of workers.  

The council has estimated that it would cost £2.5 billion to retrofit all of the 51,000 homes in Cambridge to net zero carbon emissions standards, and has commissioned research to identify what types of decarbonisation measures would be necessary to achieve this in different types of homes. 

The council committed to:  

 - work with housing associations, private landlords and owner occupiers to help access investment for retrofitting homes in Cambridge

 - work with local partners, including the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (who lead on skills strategy), the Greater Cambridge Partnership, local councils, businesses and education providers to create the skilled workforce needed to retrofit homes to a net zero carbon standard. 

The council has taken a range of action to date to retrofit council and privately owned homes in Cambridge, including: 

 - investing £4.3 million in energy efficiency improvements to council homes over the period of the council’s previous climate change strategies, focussing on bringing the lowest rated properties up to an EPC rating of C.  

 - investing a further £2.5 million over three years (from 2020/21 to 2022/23) to improve the energy efficiency of some of the remaining council homes with EPC ratings of D to G, with the aim of bringing these up to a C rating or above where feasible

 - bidding jointly with other Cambridgeshire local authorities to the Government’s Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme and being awarded just over £2m to retrofit social and private housing

 - submitting a further £5.5m bid into the Sustainable Warmth Scheme As part of a Cambridgeshire local authority consortium, which is scheduled to be implemented between January 2022 and March 2023 if successful. 

The council’s current Climate Change Strategy for 2021-2026 sets a target to reduce the council’s direct carbon emissions (from its corporate buildings, fleet vehicles and business travel) to net zero carbon by 2030.

The strategy also shares a vision for Cambridge to be net zero carbon by 2030, subject to Government, industry and regulators implementing the necessary changes to enable the city and the rest of the UK to achieve this. The strategy sets out a range of actions to reduce carbon emissions, working collaboratively with residents, businesses and partner organisations in the city.  

Cllr Anna Smith, Deputy Leader, said: “I am delighted to sign the UK 100 pledge on behalf of Cambridge City Council. The council is committed to tackling the climate change emergency, and we have set a target to reduce our direct carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. We have also shared a vision for Cambridge to be net zero carbon by the same date, and are working collaboratively with our residents, businesses and partner organisations to try to reduce carbon emissions from the city as rapidly as possible.”   

“However, we need much greater ambition, commitment and investment by national Government. In signing the pledge, we are joining the leaders of other local authorities in the UK100 in calling on the Government to accelerate delivery at a national level and provide the powers and funding needed to support local climate action.”

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: “I’m really pleased that the council voted unanimously to support the global fossil-fuel non-proliferation treaty. The climate crisis is the biggest issue that we face and the council is working hard to reduce carbon emissions, but without preventing them at source we will not achieve the net zero carbon world that we all need for our survival.” 

“We are urgently calling on the government to support the Great Homes Upgrade ahead of the upcoming autumn budget and COP26. Tackling fuel poverty and addressing the climate emergency are key priorities for the council. We have taken significant action to improve the energy efficiency of council homes and private properties in Cambridge, using our own funds and limited government funding when this has been available.” 

“However, we still have a very long way to go as a city and as a country. To ensure that we achieve net-zero carbon emissions and everyone benefits from a warm, comfortable home, we need central government backing and investment in retrofitting homes and training the retrofit workforce of the future.”